3Rivers Archery Supply
Desert vs High Country
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
coelker 28-Jul-17
buzz mc 28-Jul-17
Jaquomo 28-Jul-17
Treeline 28-Jul-17
Ermine 28-Jul-17
Charlie Rehor 28-Jul-17
Trial153 28-Jul-17
BOHNTR 02-Aug-17
TMA1010 02-Aug-17
Buglmin 02-Aug-17
coelker 02-Aug-17
LKH 03-Aug-17
Treeline 03-Aug-17
Buglmin 03-Aug-17
From: coelker
28-Jul-17
So I am sitting in my truck on a scouting trip. It is 97 degrees outside and the cold AC feels good.

I saw the video posted by Treeline and got to thinking.

What is more challenging? Honestly I can make arguments for both. For example, in the video they saw a single group of bucks that had more deer in it that I can see in season.

when I was younger I hunted high and it was great. As I have grown older I have started hunting way lower and spending all my time and effort just finding animals.

So what are your experiences?

I am hooked on Desert desert for now... I have thought about a hunt above treeline but not sure how successful my desert experience might be...

From: buzz mc
28-Jul-17
I'm looking foward to hearing some responses. I was thinking about what I wanted to hunt next year and was thinking I'd hunt mule deer. I was originally thinking high country, but really like the desert also.

From: Jaquomo
28-Jul-17
The thing about the "high country" - timberline - is that it's usually a quick hunt in states with a September season. You better get your buck the first 7 days or it's pretty much over and the bucks are invisible. States where the season starts earlier in August give the hunter a much broader window. Guys like Roy Grace, Tavis, Randy Ulmer, etc, are exceptional hunters, given their consistent success on alpine velvet bucks.

I prefer later-lower-open country, but that's mostly because the hunt is longer and generally includes the rut. Not sure if either is "easier" because killing a mature muley buck with a bow is tough anytime. In September he usually has several sets of eyes watching. During the rut it can be a whole bunch of eyes. But later on decoying and calling work great, where September is spot-stalk or ambush.

From: Treeline
28-Jul-17
Why not do both?

Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada or even northern New Mexico or Arizona for an August/September hunt. New Mexico or Arizona for a late season December or January rut hunt.

From: Ermine
28-Jul-17
I think high country is tougher. Given the terrain and weather etc. once bucks shed their velvet they dissapear.

Desert is fun too thou. Hunting deer in the rut is awesome

28-Jul-17
Don't forget the Canola/Wheat fields and deep woods of Northern Alberta.

From: Trial153
28-Jul-17
This is a great contrast. For me high country early season hunts are more structured and predictable. Later desert hunts are more catch as catch can ...I generally find myself hunting in areas I may not have expected. When the are in the rut it's a world of a different stalk when their on their feet and does are in area. I like both! Don't ask me to choose !

From: BOHNTR
02-Aug-17
Above timberline hunts are difficult mainly due to the physical requirements needed to successfully stalk a mature mule deer in its bed at those steep elevations. You can arrow a forked horn, but when you bone and pack it out several miles at elevations only mountain goats inhabit you've EARNED IT (physically)! :)

Having said that, I believe true mature desert mule deer (Sonoran) are much more difficult to arrow than any other type of terrain mule deer inhabit. Their nomadic nature in an arid environment, coupled with their constant search for does in estrus make them very difficult and often frustrating to bowhunt, IMO.

From: TMA1010
02-Aug-17
I wish I knew where to start on the mulies above timberline. Surely they aren't just everywhere up there. It's a bit intimidating for a guy from IL to try and figure them out.

From: Buglmin
02-Aug-17
Desert mulies here in Arizona is as tough as it comes!! Usually the bucks are running with does, and those dang does see everything!! Plus, the terrain isn't at times the best for closing the distance needed. And everything will either bite you or stick you!! However, there's something about the high of country of Colorado and Utah. Big velvet bucks, and if you're patienct, you'll get your chance. Love the high country...

From: coelker
02-Aug-17
Interesting. I never considered late vs. early etc. I will be hunting WY desert country in September. It is hot dry etc. There are very few deer, lots of snakes and antelop. The deer we are huntin are totally resident deer and will shed during season.

We have a lots of higher and cooler land to hunt.

Hunting the lower country in rut would be cool.

I know the lower country is easier on a guy physically, but mentally it is extremely hard.

One of the biggest issues is trafic. Not any roadless areas and ATV trails.

So how does it change hunting early September low in the hot dry very short sage.

From: LKH
03-Aug-17
I hunt 84 in WY. Mountains and desert. There is no doubt the mountains and canyons are far tougher. The big problem is the steepness of the terrain plays the devil with the winds. With a longbow I need to get very close and it takes a very unique situation to do that with out wind swirl getting you.

From: Treeline
03-Aug-17
Those Arizona desert deer are tough duty. Dry and crunchy most of the places they live so it is tough to stalk in close. Almost impossible to find in early season and only seem to show up in the rut. Then you have lots of does to contend with. There are some tricks that really work well on them, though! Totally different kind of hunting.

Coelker - Don't worry too much about roads in WY. If you are bowhunting, focus on the areas just off the edges of the antelope country as the antelope rifle hunts will typically be going on the same time. Look for little pockets of aspen/brush in the small headers out in the sage or along rims and you will start finding bucks - probably some really good ones! They don't move much until the rut and will stay in those pockets thru the bow season and the early rifle hunts. They like to bed just under rims or in the cover of brush in headers and can be very stalkable. Loop around and get above them with the wind right and you will get some shooting in:)

From: Buglmin
03-Aug-17
I fell hard for the desert mulies here in Arizona. Had so much fun chasin some true giants. Passed on the small and young lil threes and fours almost every day cause of the bucks we were finding and seeing. The boys from Cabela's told me to bring a compound down, and if I'd only of listened...

Where else can you be stalking mulies in December and January in long sleeved t-shirts and lite hiking boots? It's something you gotta experience to understand it. Only thing is, bring good knee pads and some good thick leather gloves!!!

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